While the best electric bikes (opens in new tab) are part of a sustainable transport solution, they’re also part of a significant problem. Electronic waste.
The growth in popularity of e-bikes means they will soon join broken and discarded computers, tablets and phones in refuse sites around the world. E-bikes are especially problematic given the relatively short life of their batteries as well as the cost of replacing them. But Roetz Bikes believes it has the answer.
The Amsterdam-based bike brand has created Roetz Life, a modular e-bike that’s designed to last forever and described by founder Tiemen ter Hoeven as “the only and last e-bike our customers will ever choose”.
In development for three years, the Life e-bike is designed to be futureproof thanks to a modular concept that allows separate modules to be replaced and repaired when necessary; the idea being that the bike can evolve with the owner rather than the breakdown of a single component resulting in the entire bike becoming obsolete.
The bike is built around a two-part stainless steel frame, with the modules then attached to it. These include a seven-geared drive module with electronic shifting which is paired with a carbon belt for improved durability and ‘shelf’ life. Like all the modules it’s designed to swap in and out with ease.
Buy a Life bike and you can choose from a range of batteries to suit your needs. Roetz also says that more options will be released, including one to turn it into a “high-speed e-bike”, although e-bike speed limits in certain countries, such as the UK, will surely restrict sales of this particular module. Roetz says it uses “clever programming” to help owners to use the battery responsibly to mazimise its life.
Adapting to the owners changing needs is a central component of the Life bike’s modular system. Roetz says it has plans to add new modules in the future that will allow the bike to be converted for a new purpose. Sketches on its website show two versions of a cargo bike, with storage space both out front and in the back.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of Roetz’s design is what it calls a "smart nervous system" that's located across the bike’s components. The wheels, which are identical front and rear, are fitted with tyres that are monitored by a smart sensor that checks the pressure. Brake wear is also monitored, with a sensor letting you know when the hydraulic disc brakes need servicing, before any parts are damaged, as is battery and motor life. The brand’s "unlimited service" guarantee sees parts replaced or repaired "next day" and at your home.
The Roetz Life is the next chapter in the brand’s "circular mission" to solve the bicycle waste problem. It began life by turning discarded old bikes found in its home city into new machines, with around 40% of the old bikes used in the upscaling process. With e-bikes now outselling regular bikes in the Netherlands, Roetz is committed to turning e-bikes from a linear product into a circular one.
Pre-orders for the Roetz Life are now open with delivery of the first batch expected in February 2023.
Pre-order pricing is €3,375 for the Roetz Life with a 500 Wh battery (60-120km) or €3,725 for the 840 Wh battery (90-180km).
For more information visit roetz.life (opens in new tab)
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
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